UAE - DIFC office
UAE - DIFC Services
Equiom in the DIFC offers individuals, family offices and businesses a full range of trust, fiduciary, compliance and risk management services.
International Pensions Plans and Employee Benefits
International employee benefit schemes are a key consideration for employers who wish to retain and attract the best talent, ensuring a loyal and dedicated workforce.
Most employees now expect global pension plans and end of service benefits as a vital part of their overall compensation package.
Equiom has considerable experience in this area and offers a number of options when it comes to trustee services for pension arrangements, from employee benefits schemes and pensions to savings and share plans for expatriates and employers.
Our range of services are offered in a number of jurisdictions around the world and include:
- End of Service Benefit Plans
- International Pension Plans
- Employee Benefit Trusts
- Employee Ownership Trusts
End of Service Benefit Plans
End of service gratuity is a statutory obligation for companies across many Middle Eastern jurisdictions and is designed to help fund employees’ future retirement needs. The requirement for a company to pay End of Service Benefits (EOSB) is well known in this region and a frequently talked about subject. Equiom are the market leading trustee in the Middle East with over 20 years of experience and hold the prestigious role of Master Trustee to the DIFC Workplace Savings Plan (DEWS).
International Pension Plans
An International Pension Plan (IPP) involves a defined contribution plan that combines investment, administration and trust services which can be tailored to your company’s specific needs.
IPPs are particularly popular with companies who have employees who work abroad on international assignments or are employed on a globally mobile basis.
IPPs enable organisations to offer an advantageous pension scheme as part of an employee’s remuneration package - essential for attracting and retaining talent for multinational corporations.
Employers have been utilising IPP arrangements over the years as an ideal solution for employees that either:
- Move from their home country and are not able to remain in their home country pension scheme
- Are employed in a country that has insufficient or no pension availability
- Require a ‘top up’ to the local pension provision
IPPs provide flexibility in several areas such as:
- Contribution percentages for both employers and employees
- Currency and type of investment
- Vesting scales for employer contributions
- Number of countries and employer linked entities included in the IPP
- Benefit distribution options – lump sum, annuity, drawdown
- Portability of the members' pension pot
Employee Benefit Trusts
Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) have been established for several years to encourage employee share participation, acting as an important incentive for staff loyalty and productivity.
The term EBT is applied to a number of different types of trust. In general, an employer sets up an EBT as a vehicle to reward, motivate and incentivise employees. The benefits provided may be a share of profits, shares in the employer company, cash distributions or other employee incentives.
The features of EBTs include:
- A discretionary trust holding assets on behalf of a class of beneficiaries
- The trust is funded by the employer company
- The trustees provide employee benefits in recognition of performance and other related factors
- It is at the decision of the trustees only as to whom may benefit from the trust assets and the extent of such benefit
Benefits of EBTs:
- Share warehousing removes complex and costly UK share buyback provisions
- Private equity - allowing the company to buy back shares of a departing executive
- EBTs have been used as a market maker for the sale and purchase of shares in the employer company
- Tax considerations including capital gains tax and corporation tax
Employee Ownership Trusts
An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is a form of trust which holds the shares in a trading company for the benefit of employees. Unlike a conventional employee benefit trust, any benefit it confers on employees must include all of them (although a qualifying period of up to 12 months is allowed) on the same terms. EOTs allow shareholders of trading companies to sell some or all of their shares, while allowing those companies to continue under the same stewardship, creating a platform for continued growth and success.
Benefits of EOTs:
- Shareholders can sell their shares for full market value (based on an independent valuation)
- The directors and senior management can remain in place and continue to run the company
- No capital gains, income or inheritance tax liabilities should arise on the disposal of a controlling interest in a company to an EOT (or on the subsequent receipt of the purchase price by the former shareholders)
- Companies controlled by EOTs are also able to pay to employees cash bonuses of up to £3,600 each year without any income tax liability, provided that these are paid to all qualifying employees on the same terms
For more information regarding any of the above plans, please get in touch with Chris Cain, Mary Craven, Graham Marsh or Joe Cheung.
Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited is the Master Trustee and Operator of DEWS and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
This material is intended only for Professional Clients and Market Counterparties as defined by the DFSA, and no other person should act upon it. However all employers and employees participating in an Employee Money Purchase Scheme will be treated as Retail Clients under the DFSA requirements.
Any underlying investment options which may be selected in the structure can carry investment risk, whereby the value of the underlying investments can go down as well as up.
Payroll & People Services
Equiom provides a range of payroll and people services that can be tailored to suit any company in the UAE, regardless of its size or the number of employees.
Our highly trained team can support your organisation’s needs, whether you are looking to reduce your operational costs or simply do not have the in-house expertise or resource available. Equiom complies with all the latest regulations in the region, so that you can rest assured your staff are taken care of for the duration of their employment, including setting up their visa, payroll and even taking care of their End of Service Gratuity.
Equiom provides an unrivalled level of service with fully dedicated client relationship teams on hand 24/7 to answer your questions.
Our payroll services in the UAE include:
- Provision of a secure UAE compliant monthly wage protection system (WPS)
- Co-ordination of payroll administration
- Maintenance of payroll related records including provision of payslips
- Assistance in obtaining mandatory UAE medical insurance
- HR consultancy services
- HR on-boarding and administration services
- UAE orientation
Our people services in the UAE include:
- Turnkey visa services for any company in any Emirate in the UAE, whether you need employment visas, dependent visas, investor visas, domestic worker visas (free zones), visit visas, golden visas, tourist visas, short-term visas, mission visas or even visa cancellation
Risk & Compliance Services
We provide outsourced compliance services to ensure that you remain compliant with the rules and regulations set out by local regulatory bodies. We work with you to ensure robust systems and controls are in place and provide additional compliance or risk management support where needed. Our knowledgeable team specialises in compliance across multiple sectors from asset management to private and investment banking.
Equiom’s managed compliance solutions are the perfect complement to any organisation, delivering considerable benefits. Our hands-on experience means we help our clients develop and manage effective compliance programs to identify issues before they become violations.
This service is ideal for those thinking of setting up in a new region, looking to consolidate an existing business, in need of temporary cover for unexpected staff absences or even wishing to undertake additional compliance training.
Our compliance and risk management services include:
- Providing suitable individuals to act as Compliance Officer and / or Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) on an outsourced basis
- Training and mentoring or ad hoc support for an existing in-house compliance / anti-money laundering (AML) function
- Assisting in preparation for regulatory risk assessments or responding to enforcement proceedings
- Conducting mock interviews to prepare individuals for authorisation by the local regulator
- Compliance and AML focused audits, reviews or special projects
- Creating mandatory compliance, AML and counter terrorist financing materials
- Delivering all aspects of compliance and AML training as required by the regulator
We provide advice and guidance on:
- A firm’s ability to meet local regulatory requirements
- The duties and responsibilities of Authorised Individuals
- A firm’s policies, procedures, systems and controls
- Regulatory risk assessments, thematic reviews or regulatory visits
- The set-up of the compliance function and creating a strong compliance culture
- Data protection advisory
Benefits of outsourcing your compliance function include:
- Access to a pool of subject matter experts
- A convenient and cost-effective way to address regulatory issues
- Swift access to additional support in times of change, such as firms facing sudden growth and / or increased regulatory demands
- Ease the burden on internal infrastructure
- Address a short-term or long-term shortage of talent
- Help to navigate complex and continually changing regulations
Structure Set Up & Support Services
For clients thinking of setting up a new business or re-structuring an existing company, Equiom simplifies the process by providing an appropriate solution and structure for that company.
Equiom has been providing its market-leading company services for over 40 years, helping clients meet their personal and business needs, while protecting their ownership and controlling interests every step of the way.
We offer the following company services for organisations:
- Company incorporation and registration
- Formation of a trust / foundation
- Establishing a branch of a foreign company (subject to market restrictions which we can guide you through)
- Notarisation & attestation services
- Government liaison and Public Relations Officer (PRO) support services
- Key personnel, including company directors, nominee shareholders and company secretarial services
- Market intelligence and due diligence
- Market insights and introductions to major buyers, projects, and government stakeholders
- Escrow services
Trustee & Fiduciary Services
Trust is something that is earned
Operating throughout the world’s most stable and reputable jurisdictions, our international trust and foundation specialists identify the most appropriate trust structures to protect and enhance your private or corporate wealth and assets.
Our experienced teams operate in both common law and civil law jurisdictions. We guide you through the complexities of local laws and regulations to find the right solution for you, organising the initial establishment of a trust or foundation and administering it carefully to maximise the benefits. We ensure its legal and tax status is maintained and provide regular accounting and financial reporting.
Over the years, we have earned an enviable reputation as leading professional trustees, dedicated to maintaining our clients’ prosperity. We aim to give you more control over your assets today, and more confidence about your holdings tomorrow – helping ensure that your family, employees, or favoured charities are well looked after for years to come.
In the DIFC, Equiom (through Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited) offers :
- Establishment and administration of trusts and foundations, which can hold a variety of financial and non-financial assets
- Dedicated accounting and financial reporting
- Estate planning
- The establishment and maintenance of banking relationships
- DIFC Trusts
We can also assist with:
- Private trust companies
- Managed trust companies
- Employee benefit trusts
- Employee ownership trusts
- Charitable trusts
- Property unit trusts
- Purpose trusts
- Will trusts/pilot trusts
- Executor services
- Benefits of a trust
- Asset protection and careful planning to ensure tax efficiency
- Succession planning with full control on how assets are distributed upon death
- Confidentiality and the avoidance of a public probate court hearing
Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
UAE - DIFC Team
Head of Middle East
Ben McLean Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited
Client Services Director
Chris Cain Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited
Client Services Director (Middle East)